Friday, December 31, 2010
Top 10 Favourite International Riders for 2010
9:49 am gmt
The last day of 2010! Has
it been a good year for you? It’s certainly been a cold and snowy one in Ireland and yet, if you ask the Met Eireann
weather experts, they'll tell you that 2010 has been the warmest year on record so appearances can be deceiving.
To highlight the end of the
year, we recently asked people on our Facebook page to vote for their favourite International Rider in 2010 from any discipline.
No marks for guessing which show jumping family featured high in the list!
And here is the result:
We wish you all a very happy, healthy and successful New Year with your family
Monday, December 27, 2010
Results of Curvy Fillies Christmas Photo Competition
7:43 pm gmt
Our sponsors, Curvy Fillies, had a tough job choosing the prize winners in their Christmas Photo Competition - so tough, in
fact, that they decided to award a 4th Prize as well as Runners-up. Well done to Gemma Lilley on winning, to Sarah English
who was 2nd, to Kelly Palmer in 3rd and Gemma Willis in 4th place. Congratulations to the five runners-up also. All photos
sum up the recent snowy weather and you can see them here
Our January competition will be sponsored by Derrylea Trees (www.derryleatrees.com
) and we are looking for a horse or pony with a great character. This competition is a little more demanding as you will have
to write why you think the horse is a character so we're looking for funny habits, tricks he or she plays, or anything you
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Making fruit salads - for feathered and four legged friends
3:31 pm gmt
I'm busy making fruit salads. If you think that's for the birds in the middle of Arctic conditions, well you're right. It
for the birds, literally! We all know how to feed the little birds who come to feed on peanuts, seed and fat balls
but what about the song birds, such as thrushes and blackbirds? So many of them suffered in January last year, becoming weak
and floppy with hunger - easy prey for our cat and next door's. Birdwatch Ireland mentioned yesterday that apples, pears and
most types of fruit are ideal to keep these song birds alive so give it a go. More ideas for bird feasts here: http://www.birdwatchireland.ie/News/Harshwinterweathercanspelldoomforourgarden/tabid/492/Default.aspxAn Equine Christmas Dinner
- Do you give your horse or pony a special feed on Christmas Day?
We asked this question on Facebook and it seems plenty of owners do. All sorts of suggestions came back with Guinness featuring
high on the list of festive treats. Diageo would be delighted to hear that. Apples and carrots mixed into the feed were popular
and some lucky equines get melons and strawberries as well. Seriously though, the main thing to remember is to give your horses
food that they can digest. Don't get carried away and don't change their diet too much. Horses are creatures of habit
and (I hate to sound like Scrouge) they don't really know it's Christmas day, even though it's fun to give them a little treat.
Icy water problems
- Plenty of us are dragging buckets of water from our kitchen sinks to stables
and paddocks as the freeze continues. Our troughs now are solid ice and when I poured hot water from the kettle this morning,
the water sat on top of the ice without melting it. Tips given to us by others included floating apples and balls in water
buckets and troughs. We tried this out to see what would happen in our stables.
One horse drank most of his water
bucket and the apple ended up frozen at the bottom. The pony ate his apple but there was a small hole in the ice. The Irish
Draught x managed to get his apple out of the bucket and ate some of it before he lost it behind his feed bucket
but his water bucket also had an ice free zone in the middle so we count it as a success. An apple flavours the water too
and gives a stabled horse something to play with.
Another tip was a tablespoon of glycerine in water which one
owner tried in a water trough and reported back to say it had worked. I suppose it all depends on how low the temperature
goes but it's worth trying these suggestions. More info and tips here
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
In defence of ex-racehorses
9:35 am gmt
Why are so many people afraid of thoroughbreds? I can honestly say that some of the easiest horses I've had to ride have been
TBs. I know we shouldn't generalise about any breed of horse or pony but I think the view of an ex-racehorse as an excitable,
impossible to train equine is often unjustified. I've met horsey people who even think they are less intelligent than sports
My second horse was an ex-point to pointer who had suffered a suspensary ligament injury. He was a home
bred who had a sweet temperament and was good at jumping. I retrained him for show jumping and he loved it. He was the
one horse I never fell off and others were happy to ride him too. He was a flashy chestnut with white blaze and stockings
and attracted a hoard of young girls around him at shows!
The next thoroughbred was another who had broken down.
He was well bred and went back to a Derby winner on the dam's side but he had bad conformation and a fore leg didn't stand
up to training. Years later vets would look at his bow tendon in amazement and wonder how he ever stayed sound.
He could only be used as a hack but he was so quiet any beginner could ride him. He was hopeless at jumping and very set in
his ways - not too keen on strange new things - but a pet. He lived to his 30th year.
The third thoroughbred was
a mare and, I have to admit, a bit fizzy. She would hack out with a beginner on her back, never minded traffic, no fear of
umbrellas (racehorses don't usually mind umbrellas because they get used to them around the parade ring at the races) but
put her in an arena with show jumps and she would go ballistic. She used to be a hurdler (albeit rather a slow one!) and it
took a lot of time to retrain her to approach coloured fences with more caution. In her mid-twenties we gave her to a vet
student who wanted a horse to look after so that he could get used to handling them.
If you ride an ex-racer
we would love to hear about your experiences. What do you do with him or her? What is his temperament like? Would you recommend
a thoroughbred? Send any info and photos to firstname.lastname@example.org
for our article on ex-racehorses in January 2011.
Friday, December 3, 2010
More snow and a new Christmas Photo Competition
11:09 am gmt
and icy temperatures in Ireland have brought most rider's activities to a halt. If you are struggling with trying to
get your horses out see our tips for coping with horses in frost and snow.
Curvy Fillies has kindly agreed to sponsor our new Christmas Photo Competition. Curvy Fillies sell ladies riding
clothes UK sizes 16 to 24 so visit www.curvyfillies.com if interested. We've received many wonderful photos already of intrepid riders and snow loving horses and ponies. All
entries can be seen on our Facebook page and closing date is midnight on 17th December, 2010. More info here.
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Results of the 'Small But Important Ponies' Photo Competition
3:21 pm gmt
A big thank you to all who entered our 'Small But Important Ponies' photo competition. We received some fantastic photographs
and stories and it was a difficult decision for Equipeople Ltd. to decide on the prize winners.
A little Shetland
called Sarah, submitted by Thomas Eccles age 8 from the Highlands of Scotland, won First Prize. Sarah is a very special pony
as she is a companion to Thomas's pony Happy who suffers from narcolepsy. Sarah helps to keep Happy moving around the friend
and is an important companion for her.
Second prize went to Poppy Hall from Devon with her driving pony, Rambo,
who is a rescue pony.
Abi Carter won third prize with Jetty, a black Shetland who is also well able to jump.
We gave Gummy Sports Watches to 11 runners up as their photos were also excellent. CLICK HERE to see the winning photos.